We are social creatures, all of us. When Facebook came along, everyone embraced the chance to share their thoughts, photos and status changes with friends and family.
And they did it willingly.
My foray onto this platform was prompted by my future wife, Susan, in 2007, after we found each other on Classmates.com after a 22-year silence.
Before that, I’d been a bit reluctant to go ‘International’, preferring instead to stay local (‘be true to your school’).
Now, almost 12 years later, I’ve had enough.
Originally, it was fun to show the world what was going on in my life. And families like to see what’s going on, too. In fact, Facebook became a great way to stay connected with my children. But it has had its costs.
Much as we’d all like to think that we put our best face forward to the world, cracks in our masks begin to appear. At first, it’s little things: mood swings, strange thoughts being shared, then lightning bolts out of the blue.
Private family dynamics begin to become visible through the open windows of social media and the results aren’t pretty to watch.
Then, there’s the ‘friends’ that one has: mostly they’re acquaintances only, and even sometimes complete strangers who want to be part of the bigger picture. After a while, you wonder if anyone is really interested in your life, and whether anyone gives a damn about what’s happening to it.
Most of my posts here have been shared on Facebook, too. Very few people read them, though. I suspect that the lack of views is down to the way ‘likes’ gather more ‘likes’ and silence makes the notifications disappear.
Or, if I’m honest, people have remained friends but have ‘unfollowed’ me. That way, their posts still get seen but they don’t have to return the favour.
Not surprisingly, I don’t get many comments challenging my opinions. That means that I am broadcasting only: there is not give-and-take of true debate.
It’s a strange balance, to be sure. Even Messenger is suspect: if you send a private message to another Facebook user, and happen to mention some ailment or another, you will most likely find pop-up advertising about that very ailment the next day.
So, we have ‘allowed’ Facebook to market our very intimate concerns as a way for it to make millions (even billions). But, from the get-go, we were not told this is what Facebook’s real purpose was. How naïve we all were (and still are).
And Finally, I’m Old
Yes, I’m old. The Facebook phenomenon has been taken over by old folks like me. We have driven the kids away, so that we’re all preaching to the converted, as it were.
But, it’s not fun, anymore.
So, ultimately, that’s why I’ve stopped. EOM.